I bought my Compass for the design, the interior quality, the comfort, the manual transmission, and most importantly, the value. I knew going in it wasn't the most fuel efficient or reliable option and I have no regrets. It's a good vehicle that isn't going to win consumer product comparisons for those reasons.
I looked at many different vehicles before narrowing down on 2 choices the Compass and the Subaru. I found most everything else lacking in one way or the other for overall appearance and capability even in Just the snow/ice let alone off road ability. The Subaru Forester was really bland even compared to something like the Chevy Trax and that is bad. The only reason the Subaru stayed in the running is their reputation which has run sharply down hill and in many circles the freaking Kia SUVs were considered more reliable and sporty. Once we really started digging deeper into Subaru the more appealing the Jeep Compass became.
Again yes the Jeeps don't get the greatest MPG but they also are not that bad either. They are rated about the same as a Subaru with the 6 speed and the same as the Rav4. Look at the EPA numbers 2018 jeep Compass 9sp 25 combined. 2018 Subaru Forester (with CVT) 28 combined with manual 24 combined. Toyota Rav4 awd auto 25 combined. Most others are not that far out of this ballpark. So really when it comes down to it what is more appealing in any of the other little SUVs?
I am frankly baffled by your attitude regarding reliability. Jeep, as a brand, is consistently in the bottom quarter of every brand reliability ranking I've ever seen. FIAT is consistently below it. The Compass hasn't been out long enough for their to be reliable data on the model specifically but its just a mashup of an established platform with an established drivetrain. I understand that most Jeep issues are with the 9 speed auto and with the infotainment, neither of which concerns me, but that doesn't account for FCA's brands consistently being at the bottom of these surveys.
A few years ago we were looking at the Wrangler Unlimited and we read all about how bad their reliability was yet not a single thing I could find pointed directly to any major reliability issues. Fast forward to today. Yes I have read about reliability rankings from all these rags on these little Jeeps. But what are they lacking one key thing they do not list what these supposed issues are nothing other than the 9 speed transmission that has been remedied with new software.
I am convinced the rankings are what the problem is and it is a combined issue. Either the low rankings are a result of money changing hands or FCA not playing that game and not paying anyone. Then those that have an ax to grind with FCA. Lastly using data collected from years ago where yes there were some crappy little Jeeps being sold that should have never had a Jeep nameplate on them. I really believe in the case of the Compass that the 1st gen is being tossed right in with the 2nd gen.
No the new Compass has not been out long enough to really look at it's reliability over any real time span. However there are things we can look at like the Renegade which shares a ton of parts with the Compass. The Tigershark engine was used in the Dodge Darts starting in 2014 if I remember correctly. Go look in those forums and you will find most really like this engine and have had no issues even in the tuner groups where engines often go to die for being run to death. The 9 speed is fairly new however being a ZF unit gives it instant credibility. Then look at the fact it will now start to be seen in many other brands such as Honda. Manufacturers don't tend to run towards something that cost more and has reliability issues.
I want some of your cool aid.
Have you looked at the new 4Runner the poor thing has been neutered in favor of a cushy ride,better on road characteristics, and simpler awd system. Most brands simply are not seeing enough market for very off-road capable vehicles. Most people that buy these things will never do as much as park them in the grass. It is sad but it is also the reality. Jeep has offroad use in their heritage and when they stepped back away from that even a little it hurt them now they are getting back on track.
My only fear I have is that at some point the entire Jeep/Chrysler/Dodge lineup is going to run into issues with EPA mandated fleet MPG requirements. Right now they don't have anything that gets high enough MPG to cover the rest of their fleet should stricter mandates come back into play. They really need need a real high MPG car or two in development ready to release. For Jeep I would really like to see a true crossover with decent 4wd capability. They could have a lot of fun looking back to something like the old AMC Spirit a sporty looking car almost dropped down on a lightened maybe shortened Renegade chassis. Tame down the 4wd modes a bit and use the smaller tigershark engine. Basically set their sights on the Subaru Crosstrek but make it a Crosstrek killer!